July 5×5 Night
Voting Closes:

July 22, 2024 11:59 am

About this idea
Many people with disabilities want to work but cannot find supported employment. They need to work because SSI does not provide enough money to live on. And they are capable of working and bring unique perspectives to the business world that can have direct benefit on the bottom line. But they often need more support than is available without a dedicated job coach or mentor to come alongside them on an ongoing basis. At LEK, we want to ensure that they find success in their employment, and are committed to creating an authentically inclusive work environment that has people with and without disabilities working together as peers. Lake Effect Kitchen works to create a competitive integrated employment model that showcases how this emerging workforce can contribute to the bottom line of a for-profit company and how authentic inclusion benefits us all.
People with disabilities often live in poverty because they cannot find paid employment that offers enough support to help them succeed. By employing a job coach, LEK can hire people with disabilities to work in a nonsegregated (and pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves) community setting on our historical Harbor Trolley converted into a beautiful food truck. Working provides dignity and community, and helps people to have disposable income that they will spend right here in our community, on things like recreation, clothing, personal services, and rent, so the dollars stay local. And having people of all abilities working together creates an atmosphere of belonging and pride that cannot be found when we keep people separate.
What I'll do with $5,000
LEK will use the $5000 to pay the wages of a dedicated job coach to come alongside employees with disabilities this summer food truck season, preparing and serving food on the trolley in and around the West Michigan lakeshore community. The coach will begin by teaching the skills and expectations involved in the food preparation, cash handling and customer service, the fade their presence to whatever level allows the maximum success for the employees. Once the summer season is completed, we hope to be able to either keep the mentor and employees on our payroll or give them a great reference to move on to their next work adventure.
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